Development of age structure

Updated: 29 Mar 2018
Next update: 29 Mar 2019

Statistics on the structure of the population describe Finnish and foreign citizens permanently resident in Finland at the turn of the year. The statistics contain data on the population’s place of residence, age, native language, nationality and country of birth, as well as on the spouse, all children and parents of an individual person. The data are obtained from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre according to the situation at the turn of the year.

The Finnish population is ageing and the number of births is falling at the same time. The decline in the number of births in conjunction with population ageing and unemployment is weakening the economic dependency ratio in Finland. Finland’s age structure is skewed, as in many other developed countries. As the baby boomers retire, funding and support for the welfare society will fall on increasingly smaller age groups.

Increasing life span will extend retirement years. Nevertheless, human health has greatly improved and the number of healthy years of life has grown, resulting in a reduced need for health care.

Growth of work-based immigration has increased employment and fertility in many countries. Finland is also aiming to increase immigration, for example through its Immigration 2020 programme.


At the end of 2017, there were 890,424 persons aged under 15 in Finland and 3,443,388 persons aged between 15 and 64. Persons aged 65 or over numbered 1,179,318 at the end of 2017. The demographic dependency ratio, that is, the number of those aged 15 or under and 65 or over per 100 working age persons, was 60.1. The demographic dependency ratio was last higher than this in 1959. During our independence, the demographic dependency ratio was at its highest in 1917 (67.6) and at its lowest in 1984 (46.7).